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An Introduction to Active Meditation by Dr Jomel Bajar, PT,DPT,MS

When you ask people about mindfulness they usually envision a passive practice of meditation. But what most people don’t realize is that mindfulness is achieved in more than one way, and is more than just sitting cross legged on the floor and being in a moment of silence. Being completely self aware of your emotions, thoughts and senses in fact does not have to be physically limiting. The physical activities and exercises that you do daily can be a form of mindfulness meditation.



Indian spiritual guru Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh, also known as Osho, invented Active Meditation. While traditional meditation brings you to the mind, active meditation brings you into your body. Active Meditation is maintaining an introspective state of consciousness while engaging in everyday activities. Any activity that makes you aware of the present moment and tunes you out of the external world can be a form of mindfulness meditation.

Although active meditation encourages being “active”, it does not mean that you should do every activity that sets your way. Andreanna Limbach, a senior teacher at NYC meditation studio MNDFL, said that in order for meditation to be truly effective, you need to be willing to set aside your other activities for a few minutes to truly feel what it’s like to inhabit our bodies and rest with your breath—without doing anything else.


The truth of the matter is that meditation is easier said than done. It takes a lot of focus to be at peace with the distractions in your mind. Getting into the habit of meditating alone will be difficult the first few times, but through discipline and constant practice your ability to focus would get better. Practicing active meditation through your daily morning routine is a good way to enhance your attention span skills. For example, the next time you wash your face, bring your attention fully to the “moment to moment“ experience as it unfolds. Feel the temperature of the water against your skin, and in doing your skincare routine notice the little details that you don’t usually pay attention to. Any sports activities that as the athletes would say gets you “in the zone” is a great way to practice active mindfulness meditation, as well. Mindful exercise involves paying attention to your body: your muscles, pace, breathing, resistance, and tension. Any activity can be a good agent of active meditation but you can always rely on breathing in and out to anchor your attention when you do your activities.


With the amount of patience and discipline you put in to be comfortable with Active Meditation, you can expect to receive a lot of benefits later on. Active mindfulness give you the same benefits that any form of mindfulness techniques provide. Besides the fact that Active Meditation enhances self-awareness, research from Utrecht University in the Netherlands shows that mindfulness may amplify satisfaction, because one is satisfied when positive experiences with physical activity becomes prominent. Meditation also reduces stress and symptoms in people with stress triggered medical conditions. It helps you improve your sleeping habits. It also controls anxiety, improves depression and creates a more positive outlook in life.


People who live an active lifestyle and those who are always on the go would benefit greatly from Active Meditation. For those who have not found the form of meditation that works for them, this form of meditation is a good type to start with. Whatever your lifestyle is, there is a Mindfulness technique that would work for you. Meditation is not just a one time thing that you go for when you feel clogged with thoughts. Meditation requires discipline and dedication in order for it to do wonders in your life. Meditation is also more than just a technique. It is a way of life.


Reference:

1. “How to Practice Active Mindfulness,” https://www.healthandfitnesstravel.com/blog/how-to-practice-active-mindfulness, (August 31, 2017).

2. Melissa Eisler,” 9 Ways to Practice Mindfulness That Don’t Involve Sitting Still,” https://mindfulminutes.com/9-ways-to-practice-mindfulness-that-dont-involve-sitting-still/, (August,9,2015).

3.Amy Lawrenson, “Active Meditation Is the Perfect Solution for Busy Millennials—Here's How to Do It,”https://www.byrdie.com/active-meditation-4685235,( May 1,2019).

4. Laurie Cameron, “ How to Meditate through Exercise,”https://www.mindful.org/how-to-meditate-through-exercise/, (May 16,2018).

5.Melissa Heisler, “What does it mean to be mindful?,”https://www.huffpost.com/entry/what-does-it-mean-to-be-mindful_b_58d8750de4b06c3d3d3e6f35, (March 26, 2017).